Food processors looking to improve product quality, lower costs and increase output may want to consider adding nitrogen to their operation.Air Products food industry specialist Chris Johnson will discuss the benefits of using nitrogen in a variety of food processing applications when he presents "Liquid Nitrogen -- A Beneficial Ingredient in the Food Industry" at thePrepared Foods R&D Applications Seminar in Itasca, Ill., on Monday, October 19th.
Chris will discuss the many creative uses of nitrogen, including:
*Freezing-- Cryogenic freezing results in smaller weight losses from dehydration than mechanical freezing. Frozen food processors can preserve the quality of their food products with a cryogenic freezing system using liquid nitrogen (LIN). Due to its extremely cold temperature, LIN can freeze food within minutes instead of hours compared to traditional ammonia or Freon systems. This causes the formation of small ice crystals, which helps to ensure that product moisture and quality are maintained. An environmentally friendly freezing and chilling solution, LIN also can be used to remove heat from a process to prevent microbial growth, decrease cycle times or increase production throughput.
*Packaging-- Gaseous nitrogen can be used in a wide range of food packaging processes, including Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP), to help preserve the quality of packaged food. Food products spoil differently, whether through microbial growth, discoloration, oxidation or even moisture loss. By replacing the earth's breathable atmosphere in a package with a pure gas or a gas mixture, including nitrogen, the shelf life of products can be significantly extended, resulting in a product that looks good, smells good and tastes good far longer.
*Mixing, Coating and Grinding-- In mixing applications, LIN is used to chill sauces and gravies to stop the cooking process and reduce cooling cycle times. In coating applications, LIN's low temperature allows it to enrobe individually quick frozen (IQF) products in sauces while freezing to produce an even coating. During grinding, LIN can be used to eliminate frictional grinding heat to improve throughput of mills while also preventing the loss of flavor and aroma components -- key contributors to organoleptic properties -- in food additives, ingredients and functional foods.
Nitrogen can be used to process a wide variety of foods, including meat and poultry, seafood, fruits and vegetables, pasta, dairy, baked goods and prepared meals. Air Products provides a variety of equipment that, coupled with LIN, can help optimize IQF and non-IQF food freezing, crust freezing, chilling, coating, mixing, and forming. Regardless of size, nitrogen can be supplied in a mode that matches the scale of any operation.
To listen to a podcast where Chris briefly discusses the benefits and applications of nitrogen for food processing, visit www.airproducts.com/videos/popup/audio_0910_food_freezing.htm.
Air Products, Lehigh Valley, Pa., has been serving the food processing industry for more than 40 years. The company's complete offerings, marketed under Freshline® Solutions, include high-purity gases and equipment, international supply capability, and unmatched industry experience and technical support. For more information, call 800-654-4567 or visit www.airproducts.com/food.
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